The Soldier's Place

Without the farmer, there is no food, no tea, not cotton.

Without the sheep-herder, there is no wool, no mutton.

Without the humble yadav or konar, there is no milk.

Without the truck driver, who eats in dhabas and spends his noons in a hot cabin in a dilapidated truck, there is no transport, no commerce.

Without the scientist tinkering in the lab, there are no missiles, no innovations.

Without the industrial worker, there are no goods to buy from a salary, however meagre.

Without the teacher, there would be no Signals, no Engineers.

We may not need managers or copywriters or politicians.

We will need poets and writers and sculptors if we want our country to have any civilisation at all. Otherwise we are just barbarians.

The soldier - he is only there to keep other soldiers away. He is worthless in himself. All the others serve by living. He can only serve by giving up his life.

The Mongols, the Afghans, the Somalis, the Turcomans, the British. In various times of history they had nothing but soldiers. They destroyed because they never created; they attacked because their societies had nothing worth defending. We hate them all today.

No country ruled by its armed men has ever prospered. That is why civil supremacy is written in our Constitution.

Being draped with the flag is an honour by a grateful country, not a right. Let no soldier forget that.

Let the soldier - and the general who eggs him on - know their place.


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